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Imperial Measures

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost was of the recent prosecution of vendors using the imperial standard of measurement; and if she will make a statement on the public interest involved in the prosecution. [40756]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 14 March 2002]: The enforcement of weights and measures legislation is an independent statutory responsibility for local authorities. In the prosecutions before the High Court recently, the vendors unsuccessfully sought to challenge the enforcement of the metric legislation made in 1994.

Beer Orders

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs prior to the decision to revoke the beer orders. [43341]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Since the beer orders no longer have any effect, it was not necessary to discuss the matter with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact that the revocation of the beer orders will have on Britain's micro-breweries; and whether a regulatory impact assessment has been produced. [43340]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Following careful consideration of the Director-General of Fair Trading's review of the beer orders and taking into account the views of all interested parties, including those of micro-breweries, I decided that the beer orders are no longer relevant to the industry as it is currently structured. The provision on guest beers applied only to large brewers with tied estates. No such brewer now exists. Revocation will impose no costs on business and is deregulatory, so a regulatory impact assessment is unnecessary.

Wind Turbines

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether she has received the findings of the study undertaken by her Department on interference to radar and navigational aid from wind turbines. [44458]

Mr. Wilson: QinetiQ are undertaking a study with the objective of determining the effects of wind turbines sited adjacent to primary and secondary air traffic control and air defence radars. The study will also provide information needed for the generation of guidance notes for developers. The study is due for completion towards the end of 2002.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress she and her fellow WTO

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Ministers have made towards lifting the restrictions within the TRIPS agreement on poorer countries' access to affordable medicines. [43532]

Ms Hewitt: The Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, adopted at the WTO Ministerial in Doha in November last year, agreed that the TRIPS Agreement does not and should not prevent WTO Members from taking measures to protect public health.

However, the Declaration recognised that WTO Members with insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector could face difficulties in making effective use of compulsory licensing under the TRIPS Agreement and instructed the TRIPS Council to find an expeditious solution to this problem before the end of 2002.

The Government are keen to see a solution to this issue. Discussions in the TRIPS Council are ongoing.

Post Office

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evaluation she has made of the feasibility of (a) auctioning and (b) charging a fee for licences for new post operators. [43628]

Mr. Alexander: Under the Postal Services Act 2000 the licensing of postal operators is a matter for the Postal Services Commission (known as Postcomm).

The legislation says that Postcomm has the power to require an application for a licence to be accompanied by such reasonable application fee as it may determine. Postcomm does not have the power under the Postal Services Act to charge a fee for licences or to auction them.

Urban Postal Services

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will place a copy of the agreement negotiated between the Post Office and the National Federation of Sub Postmasters, regarding the future of the urban network, in the Library. [43337]

Mr. Alexander: This is an operational matter for Consignia. As such, any provisional terms, negotiated between Consignia and the National Federation of Sub Postmasters on the future of the urban post office network, are commercially confidential.

Stolen Equipment

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 24 January 2002, Official Report, column 1071W, on stolen equipment, what criminal proceedings have been undertaken for cases of theft against her Department, stating in each case (a) whether the proceedings (i) led to a criminal conviction and (ii) were unsuccessful, (b) the cost incurred by her Department in pursuing a conviction and (c) the value of items recovered; and if she will make a statement. [41510]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 18 March 2002]: There are no cases of theft where criminal proceedings were undertaken by the Department. Where appropriate the

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police would have been informed of the theft but the Department has no record of the outcome of police investigations.


School Computers (Pornographic Material)

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 5 February 2002, (ref 31830), what the normal disciplinary procedures are that head teachers should take when (a) a member of staff and (b) a student is discovered to have used school computers for viewing pornographic material. [34599]

John Healey: In the case of (a), the procedure that would apply would be the staff disciplinary procedure of the school in question. In general, misusing a school computer in this way would constitute very serious or gross misconduct, and could possibly result in dismissal. Where applicable the school's procedure may be deferred pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

In the case of (b) the normal disciplinary procedure would be for the head teacher to consider all the relevant facts and such evidence as may be available to support the allegation made, allowing the student to give his or her version of events. If the head teacher is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the student did what he or she is alleged to have done, he or she may exclude the student for a fixed period or permanently. Misuse of computers by students to view pornographic material is a very serious matter and exclusion for a fixed period or permanently would be an appropriate response to such behaviour.

We are, however, also determined to help schools ensure that teachers and pupils do not access unsuitable material while accessing the wealth of educationally valuable material on the internet. We have produced detailed guidance for schools about the wide range of measures they can adopt. These include use of walled gardens and filtering software, monitoring and tracking pupil access, and providing 'user contracts' for pupils, spelling out how they should behave.

Capita Contracts

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much public money the Capita-administered schemes within the Department have paid out. [38370]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Capita has administered three schemes on behalf of my Department and its predecessors: teachers' pensions, Connexions card and individual learning accounts. Since 1996 approximately £19 billion of public money has been paid out under these schemes, largely in pensions-related payments to former teachers.

Individual Learning Accounts

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people took advantage

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of individual learning accounts in (a) the UK, (b) the north-east, (c) south Tyneside and (d) the Jarrow constituency. [40626]

John Healey: Prior to the closure of the programme, some 2.6 million individuals opened individual learning accounts in England. Of these 1.4 million had booked learning. The table sets out the number of individuals in the north-east and Jarrow who took advantage of the help available through the individual learning accounts programme. It has not been possible to provide this for south Tyneside.

AreaNumber of active accounts

(14) North-east figure based on Government office north-east area.

(15) Jarrow figure based on post codes NE31, 32, 35 and 36.

School Playing Fields

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations have been received by her Department in relation to disposal of school playing fields in the London borough of Haringey. [40716]

John Healey [holding answer 5 March 2002]: Since the introduction, in October 1998, of legislation to protect school playing fields, the Department has not received any representations in relation to the disposal of school playing fields in the London borough of Haringey.

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